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Coalition Letter Which Requests That Governor Hochul Comprehensively Remediate All Toxic Sites in the Gowanus Canal Community to "Pre-Disposal Conditions."



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This coalition letter is a joint effort between Toxics Targeting and voiceofgowanus.org. Please visit their web site to learn more about this campaign.
You can also visit: Campaign to Require Governor Hochul to Clean Up All Toxic Sites in the Gowanus Canal Community to "Pre-Disposal Conditions"


The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York
The State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Hochul:

We, the undersigned, write respectfully to request that you remediate all Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites, Brownfields, hazardous substance releases and other documented contamination threats to the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY in strict compliance with State mandates requiring comprehensive toxic cleanups to "pre-disposal conditions" and pollution spill "source removal" in order to fulfill all applicable regulatory requirements.

As documented by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) data presented below, it is beyond dispute that your administration, as well as earlier administrations you served in, routinely and systematically failed to remediate dozens of massively polluted toxic sites that contaminate the Gowanus Canal.

See: Public Health and Environmental Toxic Threats Along the Gowanus Canal That Reportedly Do Not Meet All Applicable Cleanup Standards

That is why this immensely impaired toxic waterway was included circa 2010 on the National Priorities List for Federal Superfund Cleanup. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of dredging nearly 600,000 cubic yards of "highly−contaminated sediment" from the canal at a cost of $1.5 billion.

Regarding this remediation, EPA declared that:

"The remedy relies on the control of upland sources of contamination to the Canal, including the remediation of three former MGP [Manufactured Gas Plants, not in the original] sites adjacent to the Canal−−Carroll Gardens/Public Place (formerly known as "Citizens Gas Works"); former Metropolitan MGP, and former Fulton Municipal Works MGP (Fulton MGP) (emphasis added)."

See: Gowanus NPL

Your administration reportedly has no plans to remove cancer-causing coal tar contamination up to 150 feet deep at the three MGPs. In addition, DEC has failed to remediate more than 35 additional toxic sites "upland" of the Gowanus Canal in strict compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements.

As New York's Governor and Chief Executive, you have a duty to safeguard our state's public health and environment by strictly enforcing applicable laws and regulatory requirements. If you fail to require pollution source-removals at all "upland" Gowanus Canal sites and restore them to "pre-disposal conditions," EPA's massive dredging effort will ultimately be recontaminated by the same toxic sources that originally polluted this massively impaired waterway.

That would be an unthinkable and unacceptable exercise in futility. It must be avoided in order to safeguard public health in the Gowanus Canal community.

New York's Legacy of Toxic Sites

New York is threatened by a vast legacy of thousands of toxic chemical dumps, former industrial sites and abandoned municipal landfills as well as hundreds of thousands of leaking petroleum tanks and hazardous substance spills. According to government regulatory data, the vast majority of these environmental and public health hazards have never been comprehensively investigated or remediated in strict compliance with the maximum level of State or Federal cleanup requirements.

Your administration routinely fails to enforce State Environmental Remediation Program requirements codified in 6 NYCRR (New York Codes, Rules and Regulations) PART 375-2.8 (a):

"The goal of the remedial program for a specific site is to restore that site to pre-disposal conditions (emphasis added), to the extent feasible."

Your administration similarly fails to enforce Section 171 of the New York Navigation Law regarding uncontrolled releases of petroleum and hazardous substances:

"It is the purpose of this article to ensure a clean environment and healthy economy for the state by preventing the unregulated discharge of petroleum which may result in damage to lands, waters or natural resources of the state by authorizing the department of environmental conservation to respond quickly to such discharges and effect prompt cleanup and removal of such discharges (emphasis added), giving first priority to minimizing environmental damage, and by providing for liability for damage sustained within the state as a result of such discharges."

Conclusion

Given New York's long-standing and on-going failure to remediate toxic problems around the Gowanus Canal in strict compliance with the highest levels of cleanup mandated by our state's public health and environmental protection laws, tens of thousands of residents of that community face unacceptable public health risks, including low-income and minority residents that are New York's most vulnerable citizens.

The Gowanus Canal community is plagued by soil gas vapor intrusion hazards that are documented at many of the major toxic sites documented herein. Yet no comprehensive survey has been undertaken to identify or safeguard homes, schools, businesses and other structures that are contaminated by this known hazard.

Unremediated toxic pollution also could be spread by increased flooding associated with climate change since enormous quantities of Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid (LNAPL), such as petroleum contamination, underlie many of the toxic sites surrounding the Gowanus Canal. For example, Superstorm Sandy polluted vast areas of New York City when extensive flooding distributed toxic pollution that was never cleaned up.

As Governor of New York, you are responsible for resolving environmental and public health problems on a comprehensive basis without any further delay. It is imperative that our state no longer tolerates inadequate remediation of toxic contamination hazards by enforcing the strict enforcement policy we propose. If you implement that policy, you would set a standard for effective regulatory action that could be replicated all over New York and from coast-to-coast. With all due respect, if you fail to adopt that policy, you would be directly responsible for imperiling New York's public health and environment and must be held accountable.

We trust you will find our respectful request self-explanatory. We will contact you to arrange a meeting to discuss our request for urgent action. Thank you for your consideration and for your public service.

Very truly yours,

cc: Hon. Eric Adams
Hon. Charles Schumer
Hon. Nydia Velázquez
Hon. Antonio Reynoso
Hon. Steven Englebright
Hon. Jo Anne Simon
Hon. Jabari Brisport
Hon. Shahana Hanif
Hon. Lisa Garcia
Hon. Mary T. Bassett
Hon. Basil Seggos

Total Signatory Count: 1170

Nancy Lipshitz
BROOKLYN, New York
Paula MacDonald
19 Poley Rd
North Branch, NY
Kristina Fedorov
6920 Rt.7
marylnd, NY
Susan Spivack
250 Quarry Street
Cobleskill, NY
Rema Loeb
122 E Main St.
Plainfield, MA
michele campo
vice president
Bowery Alliance of Neighbors
184 Bowery
nyc, new york
Yayoi Koizumi
Founder
Zero Waste Ithaca
Ithaca, NY
jay spica
152 Bloomer rd
Lagrangeville, NY
Leslie Gold
40 Downing Street
NY, NY
Lesley Brill
64 West University
Alfred, NY
Marcella Durand
570 Grand St., Apt. H204
New York, NY
David Mitchell
402 Esty Street
Ithaca, New York
Anne Heaney
Vid
344 West 14th Street, apt. 1C
New York, NY
Alice O'Malley
New york, Ny
Douglas Knipple
President
Finger Lakes Zero Waste Coalition
44 Madison Ter
Rochester, New York
Michael Gorr
8 Deer Run
Skaneateles, NY
Allison Prete
RoR Productions
Carolyn Clark Pierson
Ms.
5262 County Highway 14
Treadwell, New York
Matt Marino
26 , 4th Street 1A
Brooklyn, NY
Kathy Herrera
116 Utica St
Ithaca, NY
shirley tripp
204 first st ithaca n.y.
ithaca, New York
Vicky Southall
50 Park Ave
Dansville , NY
Amy Harlib
212 West 22nd St. #2N
New York, NY
Jason Green
Assistant Professor of Ceramics
6405 Palmiter Rd.
Alfred Station, NY
Ted Freed
Inwood Legal Action
85 Seaman Ave. #4A
New York, New York
Ashley Sosler-Hernandez
500 4th Avenue, Unit 2M
Brooklyn, NY
Michael Perez
163 Luquer Street #3
Brooklyn, New York
Michael Frys
member
sierra club
20560 Colonial Isle Drive
Tampa, FL
Eileen Myles
East River Park Action
86 E 3 St. apt 3C
New York, NY 10003-9260
Victor Axelrod
273 , 3rd Avenue #1
Brooklyn, NY
Dennis Anello
214 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Karen Smith
PO Box 76
Ithaca, NY
Rosalia Nolen
500 4th Ave #3Q
BROOKLYN, NY
Jill Ullian
214 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, NY
Elizabeth Watts
513 SE 27th Way
Boynton Beach, FL
Hilary Fox
4907 39th Avenue
Sunnyside, NY
Elaine Livingston
1403 Glenwood Road
Vestal, NY
Kate Levin
509 4th
Bklyn, Ny
Lisa Sanfilippo
1108 N Cayuga St
Ithaca, New York
Star Hesse
Senior Legislative Action Committee of Sullivan County
7698 state route 52
Narrowsburg, New York
judith ackerman
ms
uft
636 W End Ave Apt 4R
New York, New York
Diane Stein
40 Harrison Street, Apt. 15A
New York, NY
Paul Pennock
6314 Willow Way
Hector, NY
Judith Francis
President
Park Defense Fund
140 Pacific Street
Brooklyn, NY
Jacqui Painter
District Leader
Kings County Democratic Party
126 Pioneer Street
Brooklyn, NY
Julie Parisi
36 Purdy Hollow Road
Woodstock, NY
Sheila Squier
110 Columbia
Ithaca, NY
Elizabeth Sanders
professor emeritus
16 The Byway
Ithaca, NY
Cynthia Orr
Melissa Bishop
21 S Washington Ave
Oxford, NY

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